New research from Mintel reveals that nearly one in five (17%) Americans say that the emotional benefits of chocolate outweigh any health concerns. What’s more, one quarter (26%) of Americans who purchase chocolate do so to improve their mood, while 20% do so as an energy boost.

America's neighbor to the north also enjoys the emotional benefits of chocolate as 38% of Canadians who eat chocolate typically do so as a reward. And in China, where volume sales increased 6% between 2014 and 2015, three quarters (76%) of consumers that eat chocolate agree that eating the treat is good for lifting the mood, and 64% agree that it is an effective way to relieve stress.

This sentiment is felt around the globe with European consumers valuing the psychological merits of the treat: half (49%) of Polish chocolate eaters say they eat chocolate to lift their mood, followed by 40% in Italy, 39% in Germany, 27% in Spain, and 15% in France. What’s more, two in five (41%) German chocolate eaters say they eat the treat because it relaxes them, followed by 37% in France, 28% in Italy, 27% in Spain and 23% in Poland.

Furthermore, Mintel research indicates that, perhaps as a result of its emotional health benefits, a number of consumers believe chocolate to be beneficial.

More than one quarter (27%) of Americans who buy chocolate consider chocolate healthier than some other options, while 13% of Canadian chocolate eaters look for promises of health benefits. One quarter (26%) of Spanish chocolate eaters agree that chocolate is healthy, followed by 21% in Poland, 20% in France and 19% in Italy. However, it seems German consumers are more skeptical, as just 9% agree that chocolate is healthy.